You’ve been offered a job that you’re not sure about when suddenly the talk turns to salary — and the employer is prepared to pay you a lot more than you ever imagined. As visions of a new car and luxurious vacations dance in your head, you quickly forget your initial reservations. A nice paycheck can certainly make up for a lot of faults, but it doesn’t guarantee happiness.
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Before signing on the dotted line, you have to decide whether or not the job is really worth it. Read on for five instances where a high-paying job could end up costing you more than you bargained for.
1. It’s not doing your resume any favors. Just because a job benefits your bank account doesn’t mean it’s good for your career. If a job veers dramatically from your chosen career path, it could make it a lot harder to get back on track down the road. While there’s no law against exploring your options at different points in your career, seriously ask yourself if this job will help or hurt your professional goals.
2. It’s an extreme commute. If relocation isn’t an option, you may consider extending your commute in order to make a job work. You may convince yourself that you don’t mind spending hours in the car each day, and that it’s a worthy trade-off. Indeed, millions of people commute an hour or more to work each day. Ultimately, it’s a very personal decision, and only you can decide what’s acceptable for your lifestyle. But ask yourself this: If you have to get up at 5 a.m. every day and you don’t get home until 8 p.m., when will you have time to enjoy your newfound wealth?
3. The company’s values don’t match your own. Say you’re a staunch antismoking activist and you’re offered a job at a marketing agency whose main client is a cigarette company. Or you’re an unswerving democrat who’s been recruited by an extremely conservative company. Will you have to pretend to be someone you’re not to fit in with the company? And are you truly comfortable with disregarding your own principles at the cost of a higher paycheck? Only you can decide how much your values are really worth. But it’s never a good idea to lie to get a job.
4. You don’t like the company culture. Remember: This is a place where you will be spending a pretty large chunk of your life. Do you feel comfortable there, or is it a bad fit? Maybe you’re a creative type who thrives on flexibility. In that case, a straight-laced office setting with endless rules and restrictions could quickly crush your spirit. On the other hand, if you’re an introvert who works best solo, you may not mesh with an overly interactive startup space.
5. It’s not stable. If you’re going to commit to one job over another, you probably want some promise of stability — to know that you’ll still be employed a year or more down the road. But what if a company can’t offer that? Whether they’re a brand-new startup or an established company that’s going through a rough patch, you may want to think twice before committing to something that could leave you jobless in a few months. Realistically assess the company’s staying power. If you’re not confident in their prospects, it might not be worth your time.
No one can predict the future, but hopefully you know enough about yourself to guess if you’ll be happy at a particular job. As hard as it may be, set aside the dollar signs for just a minute and be honest about whether or not the job is truly a good fit for you.
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